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UPDATE: Roberts offers resignation as MP and Sports Minister
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts has offered his resignation as MP for D'Abadie/O'Meara and Minister of Sport.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessarhas accepted Roberts' resignation as Minister, in the wake of several allegations of corruption arising from the Life Sport programme. Acting President Timothy Hamel-Smith is to appoint Rupert Griffith as the new Sport Minister.
The PM announced the change in ministerial portfolio at the post Cabinet media conference at 4.45pm but she made no mention of accepting Roberts' resignation as MP.
That resignation was offered in an unsigned one-page letter sent to the PM at 2.15pm, obtained by the T&T Guardian. If the PM were to accept his resignation as MP, his constituency would not hold a by-election, as the government is already in its fifth year.
Insisting that he has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Life Sport audit, Roberts last week said he will not tender his resignation from the People’s Partnership Government.
In May, a video went viral showing showing a person resembling a government minister rolling a substance believed to be marijuana into a cigarette in a hotel room with two women. Last month, Roberts told the PM he has never used drugs, including marijuana, during his tenure as minister and “never taken, used or experimented with illicit or illegal drugs or ever been involved in any form or fashion with prostitutes.” Persad-Bissessar subsequently said she had no reason to remove Roberts from her Cabinet.
Tuesday’s Guardian editorial called for the PM to fire Roberts: “Since Sport Minister Anil Roberts refuses to resign over the Life Sport controversy, it is now up to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to fire him from her Cabinet.”
Roberts was first elected to the House of Representatives on Monday May 24, 2010. He was appointed Minister of Sport on May 29, 2010.
Before he entered party politics, he was already well known as the swimming coach of Olympic Bronze Medal winner George Bovell III, and as the host of popular television sports show, Spalk.